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Leonard J. Ronan Jr., chief accounting officer for the Los Angeles Salad Co., died peacefully in his sleep Sept. 1 at his home in Walnut, CA. He was 78.

Mr. Ronan held a number of positions with major companies in the fresh foods industry and had worked up to the day before his unexpected death, closing out the books for the Los Angeles Salad Co. for the month of August. He had previously been a consultant to River Ranch in Los Angeles; served as vice president of finance for G&G Produce; was vice president of finance for Acapulco Restaurants Inc.; and spent 21 years with the United Fruit Co./Chiquita Banana Co., serving in many areas including five years in Colombia, and six years as vice president of finance for the company's Inter Harvest division in Salinas, CA.

Mr. Ronan was described as passionate about his career and a mentor to many. "We lost so much more than a gifted and faithful associate, we lost a dear friend. We will miss him greatly," Bob Hana, chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Salad Co., said in a Sept. 8 e-mail to The Produce News. A family statement said that Mr. Ronan will be missed by his family and friends. “A caring father, brother, grandfather and partner, we were all honored to have him as a part of our lives. He had a great sense of humor and was an avid sports fan, following the Boston teams.”

Mr. Ronan was born July 17, 1932 in Andover, MA, to Leonard J. Ronan and Mary (Carroll) Ronan. He attended St. Augustine’s Elementary School in Andover, MA, and Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, MA. He was a graduate of the Bentley School of Accounting & Finance in Waltham, MA. He met his wife, Mary Lou, in high school, and they were married May 16, 1953, at St. Patrick’s Church in Lawrence, MA. They were together for 45 years, living in various locations until her death in 1998.

Mr. Ronan is survived by three children, Barbara Ronan of Essex Junction, VT; Michael Ronan of Broadlands, VA; and Robert Ronan of Walnut, CA. He also leaves two granddaughters, Hannah and Caitlin; two sisters, Mary Ellen (Ronan) Roberts; and Carol (Ronan) Lange.

He also leaves Patricia Hodson, his companion and best friend in the last two years of his life.